Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Utah Softball Notes

Diana Phillips and the Utah softball team have a six-game road swing on tap this week.

Diana Phillips and the Utah softball team have a six-game road swing on tap this week.

April 5, 2005

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The Lineup: With rain wrecking havoc on the University of Utah's schedule, the softball team (9-16, 0-2 Mountain West) will venture from Salt Lake City for a six-game road swing. The Utes will play a doubleheader at Utah Valley State (Wednesday, April 6 at 2 p.m.) and then they follow that up with a pair of MWC doubleheaders. First up is San Diego State on Saturday, April 9, at 1 p.m. (PDT) and then UNLV on Sunday, April 10, at noon (PDT).

Quoting Head Coach Mona Stevens:
On playing this week: "I'm glad that we can practice outside now because we have not been able to run a game-like scrimmage inside. Both of our pitchers need to practice off of live hitting and in game-like situations. We need to see our pitchers performing as well as they did at the beginning of the season in order to be successful."

On the BYU doubleheader last weekend: "I thought that we hit better in the second game (against BYU) but we had that game on the line in both the sixth and seventh innings and I don't feel that we gave it our best effort. I think the team felt a little dejected after the first game and that came through in the second game. They didn't believe in themselves anymore.

"We are very capable of winning and it's a matter of making this team understand that. We were in numerous one-run games earlier in the season and now the team is doing things that indicate it doesn't believe in itself -- it doesn't will it to happen anymore. And, that's not going to cut it.

"We need to push the determination button and find the leaders on the this team that can step up and get everyone one ready to play."

Scouting This Week's Opponent: The Utes will play at UVSC, San Diego State and UNLV this week.

UVSC brings an 8-32-1 mark into the game with Utah. It has not won in 13 tries, going 0-12-1 during that stretch. Three Wolverines are currently batting better than .300, led by Rachel Hartgrove. She is hitting .423 on the season and also leads the team in doubles (11) and home runs (six). Jackie Roberts is tops in the circle. The Wolverine hurler owns a 3.72 earned-run average and is 17-13 on the season.

San Diego State is 22-16 for the season and is in sixth place in the MWC at 0-4. The Aztecs have lost five straight which includes a pair of doubleheaders to conference rivals Colorado State and New Mexico. Kristen Carranza leads the team in hitting .337 and with 18 RBI. From the circle, Celena Velasquez leads all Aztecs with a 1.15 earned-run average and a 10-7 record.

UNLV is 26-13 this season and is currently second in the MWC standings at 3-1. Marissa Nichols leads the team and league in batting. She sports a .439 average, leading the Rebels in doubles (12), triples (six), home runs (10) and RBI (30). Shannon Crisp leads all pitchers on the roster. She owns a 1.88 earned-run average and is 8-1 on the season.

Two for the Price of One: Bryanne Durrence tallied her first multiple-RBI game of the season. Despite going 1-for-4 at the plate, she had two RBI in the 5-3 loss to Brigham Young last weekend. Durrence had an RBI single to left in the first inning of the game and tallied her second on a fielder's choice. Ivette Hernandez leads all Utes in multiple RBI games with five.

Just Put the Ball in Play: Devina Quintero had a hit in each of the last two games. In fact, Quintero has been one of the top performers at the plate, bagging at least one hit in 11 of the last 13 games and hitting a gaudy .447. That is almost 100 points better than her team-leading .354 batting average. She recently saw her nine-game hitting streak come to a halt in the 3-2 win over Princeton on March 20. That is currently the third longest in the conference this season.

Off to a Good Start: Three Ute players got off to a good start in conference play, hitting .400 or better. Devina Quintero, who is hitting .354 for the season, hit .667 in the first two conference tilts last weekend. She went 4-for-6 in those two games. Freshmen Sharee Fonoti (hitting .159 for the year) and Diana Phillips (.267) started off MWC play by each hitting .400. Both were 2-for-5 in conference tilts last weekend.

Schedule Change: Two postponed games have been rescheduled. The postponed doubleheader with Utah Valley State on Saturday, March 26, will be played at the Utah Softball Field on Friday, May 6. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. The postponed game with Utah State from March 30 has been slated to be played on April 13th at the Utah Softball Field. First pitch for the matinee is set for 3 p.m.

Hit and Runs: Lindsie Nielsen fanned five batters in the 5-3 loss to BYU. That was the second most strikeouts for the Nielsen this season. She had a career-high nine strikeouts in the 9-0 season-opening win over UVSC on February 4 ... the Utes have gone four games (124 at bats) without an extra-base hit. The last extra-base hit by a Ute was Kate Nygaard's two-out, two-run home run in the seventh inning against Miami (March 6) ... the Utes broke a 13-inning scoreless streak when Bryanne Durrence hit an RBI single in the first inning of the second game versus BYU. Utah hadn't scored since the fifth inning of the Princeton game (March 20) and were outscored 21-0 during its scoring drought ... Utah has been outhit, 32-12, during its current four-game losing streak ... Utah is 8-1 when it holds its opponents to two or less runs. The Utes are 1-15 when their rivals score three or more runs.

At the Helm: Mona Stevens is in her ninth season as Utah's softball head coach. Stevens is 269-226-1 all-time and owns a 100-74-1 record in conference play. She has led her squad to four NCAA regional appearances and has coached three All-Americans. Stevens has also coached 12 all-West Region players including Glennis Donnelly and Melissa Stahnke in 2004. Her teams have won one MWC regular season title and three MWC tournament titles, including the 2004 tournament championship.

On Deck: Six games over a four-day stretch are on the horizon for the Utah softball team. It returns home to host single games against Utah State (April 13) and Cal-Riverside (April 15), and doubleheaders with conference rivals Colorado State (April16) and New Mexico (April 17).



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